Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School – A Review

A review by Janice Campbell

Take Heart by Mari Fitz-Wynn
When I began homeschooling in the late 1980s, there weren’t many curriculum resources available. Many homeschoolers made do with discarded public school textbooks or struggled to persuade textbook publishers to sell directly to home educators (very few people had ever heard of Charlotte Mason and living books, unfortunately). I would describe this as the Wild West period of the homeschool movement.

Finding curriculum was a minor challenge, though, compared with finding encouragement and sound advice from veteran homeschool parents. I remember haunting the library stacks and hunting through the card catalog in search of anything written about non-traditional education. Through interlibrary loans, I was able to read books by John Holt and Raymond and Dorothy Moore (you can see a few of them in the box below), but they didn’t offer what I was really looking for– simple mom-to-mom tips and advice.

Times have changed, and over the course of this convention season, I saw thousands of resources at the homeschool conferences I attended. They’re a testimony to the energy, creativity, and love that’s been poured into the homeschooling movement by countless parents who couldn’t find what they needed. Whatever you want to teach, and however you want to teach it, you can probably find a great resource (and if you can’t, you can create it!).

Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School by Mari Fitz-WynnThe slowest category to build has been the mom-to-mom books of wise counsel and encouragement. That is changing, though, and Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School
 by Mari Fitz-Wynn is one of the most helpful and approachable little books I’ve encountered this season. Mari and her late husband Edward homeschooled their six children, and as they did, they encouraged others. Through Heart for Home School Ministries, Mari has spent many years bringing together new and veteran homeschoolers for advice, encouragement, and mentoring. 

She has finally paused long enough to write a book brimming with gentle encouragement and sound counsel. Understanding that homeschooling moms are busy, Mari designed the book in 26 brief chapters corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. This makes it easy to find a topic you may be seeking, and the brevity makes it possible to snatch a moment of encouragement during the small moments of the day. The only downside of the brevity is the fact that it’s over so quickly– I tend to like big fat books, but I realize that’s not always practical for busy moms.

Topics in Take Heart include anxiety, burnout, character, disillusion, expectations, inspiration, juggling, legacy, no (love this chapter!), organizing, quitting, volunteering, and more. Mari’s wide experience and loving heart are reflected in each page, and her comfort and counsel are sound. I’ve known Mari for several years through Heart for Home School’s annual conference, and am delighted that she’s finally written a book. I know it will bless you or someone you love.

Book details:

Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Home School
by Mari Fitz-Wynn
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Torchflame Books (June 11, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1611531060
Worldview: Christian

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, but the honest opinions in the review are my own. I receive quite a few review books (and buy a lot more). If I like them, I review them. If I feel they aren’t a good fit for my readers, I pass them on. So if you see a review on my site, you can know that I only recommend things I love, whether free or purchased. And of course, any links that go to Amazon are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small amount (it doesn’t change what you pay). It helps to offset my book budget, so thank you!

4 Responses

  1. Hi Janice,

    It is interesting to watch the homeschooling scene evolve over time. My favorite, though I’m so young I didn’t experience it, is how popular doubts went from “are they learning anything?” to “what about socialization?”.

    I feel like the “Homeschool Dad” angle is in deficit right now. Or more accurately, attention on the “involvement of the working spouse”…

    It pains me to see one parent doing everything as often as I see it. The kids suffer too.

    Mari needs to publish her book on Kindle.

    • It has been fun to watch the evolution of homeschooling. We started homeschooling in the late 1980s, so we got all the questions, from “is it legal?” to “will they be able to go to college?” and “what about the prom?” Socialization was big question for a long time, but seems to be fading a bit.

      As we have traveled to conferences in recent years, it seems as if the number of full-time homeschooling dads and involved dads has been increasing. I do know that some moms don’t mind doing all the homeschooling, as long as they’re getting emotional and practical support, help around the house, and generous doses of kindness and consideration. A lot depends on personality type and gifts, I think. If dads are leading by example in developing wisdom, virtue, and humility, that’s a huge contribution.

      You’re right that Mari needs to publish her book in Kindle format. I hope it will happen soon!

  2. Anne Gregor says:

    Time management and organization are another vital study skills in a homeschool setting. Homeschooled students must learn to organize their materials, clean their workspace and manage their time so they can also do some other important things.

    Anne Gregor

  1. August 19, 2014

    […] Veteran homeschooler Mari Fitz-Wynn has written a helpful new book of wisdom and encouragement for home educating moms, and I’ve reviewed it in Take Heart: 26 Steps to a Healthy Homeschool– A Review. […]

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